World

Donald Trump deposed in defamation case tied to rape allegation

Former U.S. President Donald Trump was deposed on Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought in New York by writer E. Jean Carroll after he denied her allegations that he had raped her, lawyers for both sides said in separate statements.

E. Jean Carroll alleges Trump sexually assaulted her in mid-1990s

E. Jean Carroll is shown at an event on Nov. 10, 2019, in New York City. In addition to the existing case against Donald Trump that has wound its way through the courts, she has said she plans to sue him under a new New York state law. (Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Former U.S. president Donald Trump was deposed on Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought in New York by writer E. Jean Carroll after he denied her allegations that he had raped her, lawyers for both sides said in separate statements.

The deposition came a week after a U.S. federal judge denied Trump's bid to postpone the proceeding, rejecting his contention in legal filings that subjecting the former president to questioning under oath in the lawsuit would impose an "undue burden."

"We're pleased that on behalf of our client, E. Jean Carroll, we were able to take Donald Trump's deposition today," the spokesperson said, declining to provide further details.

An attorney for Trump, Alina Habba, issued a separate statement later in the day confirming the deposition, saying: "As we have said all along, my client was pleased to set the record straight today."

Habba added: "This case is nothing more than a political ploy like many others in the long list of witch hunts against Donald Trump."

Carroll, 78, a former Elle magazine columnist, sued Trump in Manhattan federal court in November 2019, five months after he denied raping her in the mid-1990s. In denying the allegations, Trump said at the time that Carroll was "not my type."

Trump has accused Carroll of making up the original accusation and said the courts should have thrown out the lawsuit. Habba has previously called the case "entirely without merit."

In seeking to delay the deposition, Trump had argued that the case should be put on hold while a federal appeals court in Washington decides whether he was acting in his official capacity as president when he called Carroll a liar.

His lawyers have argued that Trump was shielded from Carroll's lawsuit by a federal law providing immunity to government employees from defamation claims.

Carroll has said she also plans to sue Trump on Nov. 24 for battery and inflicting emotional distress.

LISTEN | Carroll in conversation with CBC News in 2019: 
Last month, advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accused U.S. President Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid 1990s. While he denies the allegation, she tells us why she waited so long to make it.

On that date, a recently enacted New York state law gives victims a one-year window to sue over alleged sexual misconduct even if the statute of limitations has expired.

Carroll has accused Trump of raping her in late 1995 or early 1996 in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan. Trump has accused her of concocting the rape claim to sell her book.

Carroll previously told CBC Radio that she was prompted to come forward after the revelations of the #MeToo movement, and the realization that she had been answering letters about abuse in her Elle column for years.

"I felt [readers] were owed the truth about the person they're writing to," she said.

Carroll's allegation is the most serious of more than a dozen accusations of past sexual misconduct levelled at Trump since he announced his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has denied all the allegations.

The other allegations directed at Trump generally involved groping and kissing without consent. Trump was caught boasting on tape in 2005 about grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission, an utterance that became public knowledge in the final stages of the 2016 presidential campaign.

With files from CBC News

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